August Meeting: What We Learned in Detroit -August 18, 8:30-10:30 AM

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Our Favorite Things…

What We Learned in Detroit

If you missed the Points of Light convened Conference On Volunteering and Service we have good news for you. Four of your distinguished fellow VAN members are sharing their favorite sessions with you this month.

Join us August 18, 2016 at Avondale at 5215 Avery Road in Dublin.

Here’s what we’ll share:
• Our favorite presentation from the opening plenary
• Strategies in Creating a Culture of Volunteer Engagement (Terri Gregoroff)
• Targeted Volunteer Recruitment (Liz Solomon)
• Beyond the Volunteer Event (Nick Linkenhoker)
• Innovation and Problem Solving (Sue Wolford)
To make sure we get all this information in, we’ll start with a panel, then break into small groups for discussion.
We’ll also encourage you to start now to budget for next year’s conference in Seattle.

View MapMap and Directions | Register


July VANtage

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President’s Message

VAN Members,

“You can’t lead anyone else further than you have gone yourself.”
– Gene Mauch
We all know the important role volunteerism plays not only for oneself, but for the greater community.  We talk about it every day as we encourage people to get out and experience the world around them through service.  As we encourage others to engage in service it is important to do some self refection and see if we are really “walking our own talk.”

Last month, VAN members came together in service at the Worthington Resource Pantry.  Not only did it give us the opportunity to get to know each other better, it also provided us an opportunity to “be on the other side” and go through the steps as a volunteer.  As volunteer administrators it certainly helped us see how our colleague runs his program and walk away with tips and ideas.

But while there, it struck me that while I volunteer often in the community, I have never really volunteered for my own organization…..sure, I’ve volunteered at events and other activities, but I never fully experience my own organization as a volunteer.   It made me think about how our volunteer programs might change and improve if we all took a step back and put ourselves in the position of our volunteers.  What would happen if you took off your volunteer administrator hat and put on your volunteer hat to experience YOUR volunteer program as a VOLUNTEER.  Might that change your web presence?  Your application process?  Your orientation?  Give it a try.  You might just have some fun being your own volunteer!

Melanie Murphy, CVA
VAN Central Ohio President

July Meeting: Making the Most of Mentoring – July 21, 8:30-10:30 AM

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We are the Wise and the Trusted- Let’s buddy up and mentor one another!

Together we can guide one another to success. VAN is excited to connect you with other VAN members who can advise you and help you reach your professional goals. Plus, linking up with a buddy will provide each of us the opportunity to contribute our expertise to other volunteer managers. Please click the link below and complete the survey relating to your experiences and goals.

The VAN meeting on July 21 will focus on mentoring. We will introduce various mentoring strategies, have an opportunity to connect with your VAN buddy or mentor, and also explore ways to bring a mentoring program to your organization’s staff and volunteer program. Join us at the Worthington Christian Village located at 165 Highbluffs Blvd., Columbus.

Learn more about the importance of mentoring here!

Register Now!

April 2016 VANtage

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President’s Message

VAN Members,

Next week is National National Volunteer Week, brought to you by Points of Light since 1974.  The week is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities.  Take the opportunity this week to thank your volunteers and remind them of the significant impact they make and utilize it as a tool to call others to action. You can find more information and resources about National Volunteer Week on the Points of Light website.  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to use this week to highlight the great work volunteers are doing for your organization.Keep reading to learn more about some incredible professional development opportunities coming up this month and next.  I hope you will agree that we have an exciting few months ahead of us.  Please mark your calendars now and make investing in yourself and your development a priority.  You won’t regret it.

Here’s to hoping spring makes it to us sooner rather than later!

Melanie Murphy, CVA
VAN Central Ohio President


Learn and Grow through Service
Matt Goldstein, Besa

April 21, 8:30-10:30 a.m.
Lincoln Theater, 769 East Long Street

Looking for a way to build and stretch your skills and knowledge? One of the easiest ways to achieve this is through service. Taking a look at how other nonprofits operate can give you great insight into what you can do to improve your own operations. It’s more than just seeing who is doing great things. Take a look around and you’ll see a true cross section of wonderful organizations and some that are less than perfect. Take it all in, and you’ll be amazed at what you can learn to make your processes better.

In its first three years, Besa curated 600 service projects, getting a glimpse at the inner-workings of a wide array of nonprofits. Join us at the April VAN meeting April 21 back at the Lincoln Theatre on 769 East Long Street as we talk with Matthew Goldstein, founder and Executive Director of Besa. Matt will talk to us about Besa, its role in the community and the power of volunteering in developing professional and personal skills in our daily lives. Besa is a nonprofit helping to mobilize Columbus’s citizens and businesses to address community need. Along with the 600 service projects, Matt’s organization worked with 5,000 volunteers and contributed $450,000 in goods and services back to local nonprofits.

Matthew is originally from Philadelphia, PA, but has called Columbus home for 15 years. His degrees are in Marketing and Political Science are from The Ohio State University.

When: April 21, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Where: Lincoln Theater, 769 East Long Street

Please enter through the red door in the right, front of the building. Parking is to the west of the theater and across the street.


Strengths Finders

May 19, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Lincoln Theater, 769 East Long Street


7 Million People Can’t Be Wrong!

Over 7 million people have taken the test, and now you can, too. VAN members will take the Strengths Finder test free of charge if you sign up for the test before our May 19 meeting.

More than 30 years of research went into discovering the 34 strengths that make people tick. By going to the VAN website and signing up for May’s meeting you will receive a code that will give you access to the test that will reveal your unique strength combination.   Since VAN is paying for this opportunity for you, please make sure that you are able to attend this meeting before registering!

The concept is simple. Your weaknesses will always be your weaknesses. You can work on them day and night, and they’ll still be there. This approach, developed by Donald Clifton, is to develop your natural strengths so that they can compensate for your weaknesses. Build on what you naturally do well.

Sign up for the MAY meeting, and you will receive an email with the code that gives you access to the Strengths Finder test. Take the test. At the May meeting a certified Gallup trainer will walk us through exercises to explain how to use your strengths. If you’ve taken the test, you know how enlightening this is. If you took the test a few years ago, we recommend you take it again. Over time new experiences will cause your strengths to shift.

Have team members interested in taking the test but they aren’t VAN members? They can join us for this special meeting for $10 each—that’s a great price for access to these online materials.

One more way VAN helps you build your career: Let’s develop our strengths together.

VAN Members: Please log-in to the VAN Website before registering!


Don’t forget to renew your membership! 

To renew, please visit the VAN website. Be sure to log in to your account before beginning the renewal process. Email if you encounter any issues while renewing.

March 2016 VANtage

Written by Nick Linkenhoker on . Posted in Home Page

President’s Message

VAN Members,

Many of us underestimate the power of networking, yet the benefits of maintaining a strong network for your professional growth are seemingly endless. Are you tapping into the power of our VAN network and utilizing it to help you succeed in your work? Networking isn’t just small talk, it’s about creating a circle of people that can provide you with:

Resources – Let’s face it, in our work there is just more to do than we can accomplish alone. Don’t reinvent the wheel when there are great resources at your fingertips through your VAN colleagues. VAN is overflowing with talented people who have done some great work and have the tools and templates available for you to use, if you just ask.
Support – You are likely to be faced with challenges and obstacles that many of your peers have also faced during their career. Call on your professional contacts and create open lines of communication to discuss those challenges and how you can overcome them.
Opportunities – While you may not be actively looking to change jobs having a vast network at your fingertips is always a good thing. Aside from employment, a strong network will also offer you opportunities to explore various volunteer roles, interests or even new industry-related trends.
Growth – Whether you are new to the world of Volunteer Administration or a veteran who has seen it all you will always need to grow, adapt and change with time. A strong network will ensure that your professional growth never stalls.
If you need a push to get your network started or make it stronger (that is ALL of us!) then join us for our upcoming Speed Networking Session on March 17 at Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland. You won’t regret it.

Melanie Murphy, CVA
VAN Central Ohio President

March VAN Meeting

In 2016 VAN is focusing on the importance of mentorship. As a professional in the volunteer management field, everyone needs a mentor. Your mentor could be a peer who has accomplished what you want to do next. It could be a peer who is going to help keep you on track as you head toward your next goal. It could be someone who can simply point you to resources that you need to help grow your career.One of the best ways to discover which VAN members have the skills you’re seeking is to sit down and talk about what’s going on in your career. Our March meeting is your opportunity to do just that. Speed networking allows you to pick someone’s brain for just a couple of minutes, then move to the next person to see what they know. The goal of the meeting is to talk to as many people as possible to find out who can help you in your career.

  • Need to find new tracking software? Ask about it.
  • Need to find a great development program? Find out what everyone else knows.
  • Want to know how to grow your program? Talk to someone who has done it.

The VAN membership is made of 60 strong professionals, all serving different populations, performing different tasks, with different talents and strengths. During this meeting you will talk to someone who can help us gain the knowledge and skills to get to the next level.

Where: Girl Scout of Ohio’s Heartland Council, 1700 Watermark Drive, Columbus, 43215
When: March 17 (yes, St. Patrick’s Day!) from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.

NOTE: It is important that everyone, especially senior VAN members attend, so that there is a true sharing of knowledge. Come and share your expertise!

VAN Bylaws Update

A BIG THANK YOU! to everyone that joined us at the February VAN meeting and voted to approve the new VAN Bylaws.

Professional Development

Take Your Professional Development to the Next Level!

One of the best ways to gain expertise in the Volunteer Management profession is to join the national network of professionals at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service hosted by the Points of Light Foundation. This year’s annual conference will be held in Detroit, Michigan from June 27-29.

Click here to learn more!

Save money on transportation costs by joining the VAN carpool for this important event. VAN will host transportation to and from the conference for all members interested in carpooling.

If you budgeted for the conference and would like to save money on transportation, email Sue Wolford at and let her know. Costs for the trip will depend on the number of people who join us.

News and Resources

ServeOhio Awards

ServeOhio is seeking nominations for outstanding people, initiatives, and groups who make great contributions to their local communities and the state through service and volunteerism. During National Volunteer Week, April 10-16, 2016, the ServeOhio Awards will recognize a volunteer, service group, corporate group, or volunteer initiative in each of the 5 regions of the state. A cash award of $1,000 will be issued to support the organization which benefited from the winner’s service.
Nominate a volunteer today:

Don’t forget to renew your membership!

VAN Members have access to training from industry experts, free access to the Volunteer Administration Skill Building Program “Everyone Ready”, a 20% discount on all industry-related books purchased through the website, and an opportunity to network with your peers in the field of Volunteer Administration.

To renew, please visit the VAN website. Be sure to log in to your account before beginning the renewal process. Email if you encounter any issues while renewing.